Fresh from their 1:1 draw in Munich against FC Bayern München, FC Augsburg followed that up with a stunning Sunday evening thrashing of SC Freiburg at the WWK-Area. Icelandic striker Alfreð Finnbogason was the star of the show, marking his comeback from injury with a superb hat-trick.
Fresh from his team's 1:1 draw with FC Bayern München, Augsburg coach Manuel Baum would only make three changes to his team. Rafael Framberger and Jan Morávek made way for Jonathan Schmid and Marco Richter, and André Hahn was also bench to make way for the return of Icelandic international Alfreð Finnbogason, who was making his first start after recovering from injury.
Freiburg were on an even better run of form, unbeaten since the return of coach Christian Streich to the dugout. There were just two changes for the Black Forest outfit, both enforced. Lukas Kübler and star striker Nils Petersen were out, with Philipp Lienhart and skipper Mike Frantz - himself returning from injury - were back in.
Augsburg dominant from the start
Buoyed by their late draw against the defending champions Bayern and boosted even further with the return of the talisman Finnbogason, the Bavarians started off at a frenetic pace. Brazilian Caiuby (or "Kai-Uwe", to FCA fans) was denied by Alex Schwolow after just four minutes, and Richter was also kept out by the busy Freiburg 'keeper (18.) It was going to get even more hectic
Just moments are Schwolow had denied Richter, the same man sent in a cross to the far post, which was headed home by the unmarked Caiuby. It was a well-deserved goal for Baum's men, and as a result they cranked things up even further.
After 34 minutes, Augsburg struck again. A square ball into the box from centre-back Jeffrey Gouweleeuw found Finnbogason, and the Icelander did just about enough to put it in the back of the net with his right foot. It was slightly scuffed and far from pretty, but was - like Augsburg's game - efficient and effective. Finnbogason almost added a second just before the break, but his shot fizzed narrowly wide.
The Finnbogason show
If FCA had been quick out of the blocks at the start of the first half, they were even quicker when the teams returned. Austrian Michael Gregoritsch's lob was goal-bound, but Schwolow pulled off another lovely save.
Freiburg had looked blunt for the whole match, and had looked unlikely to trouble Andreas Luthe in the Augsburg goal. Instead, a goal was gifted to the Badeners in the 49th minute. In a scene that could best be described as comical, a goal-line clearance was botched completely by Martin Hinteregger, whose attempt cannoned straight off Schmid and into the net.
The goal gave Streich's men a much-needed shot in the arm, and for a moment they looked vaguely threatening. However, any fears the home supporters may have had were allayed in the 68th minute. Finnbogason was hauled down by Domenique Heintz in the box, and Icelander stepped him himself to take the resulting penalty and restore the two-goal cushion.
Freiburg now decided to throw everything forward, and both teams had chances to score in what was an exciting close to the weekend's round of matches. Former Freiburg man Schmid saw his shot go narrowly wide (70.) before SCF sub Tim Kleindienst was denied by the excellent Luthe (77.)
The final chapter of the match could have been scripted. Set up by sub André Hahn, that man Finnbogason completed his hat-trick, finishing with his left foot. There were just seven minutes remaining, and the home side safely ran the clock down.
Result: FC Augsburg 4 (Caiuby 19., Finnbogason 34., pen 68., 83.) SC Freiburg 1 (Schmid og 49.)